UN urges Somali leaders to abide by electoral deal
MOGADISHU, Somalia – The United Nations on Monday urged Somali leaders to stick to their agreement on a new electoral calendar after repeated delays sparked a perilous political crisis.
Under an agreement announced on Sunday evening after talks between Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble and heads of state, parliamentary elections that should have ended last year are now expected to be concluded by February 25.
The electoral stalemate sparked a bitter power struggle between Roble and President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, better known as Farmajo, which threatened the stability of the fragile Horn of Africa nation.
The UN mission in Somalia said on Twitter it was “satisfied” with the consensus reached during the meetings of the National Advisory Council.
But he added: “The priority now is to implement these decisions to achieve a credible and widely accepted result by the new deadline.
“The UN encourages Somali political leaders to continue in a spirit of cooperation, to avoid provocations that risk new tensions or conflicts and to remain focused on the swift establishment of a credible electoral process for the benefit of all Somalis . “
The international community had expressed fears that election delays and the Roble-Farmajo feud could push the country deeper into crisis as it continues to fight a deadly insurgency by al-Shabaab jihadists.
Somalia is also in the grip of a severe drought which the United Nations says has left one in four people facing acute hunger.
Farmajo’s four-year term expired in February last year, but was controversially extended by parliament the following April, sparking deadly shootings in the streets of Mogadishu.
Roble then negotiated a new electoral schedule, but in the months that followed the couple’s bitter rivalry once again derailed the process.
In the latest feud, Farmajo suspended Roble, but the prime minister defied the order, accusing the president of violating the constitution and of “attempted coup”.
The country’s elections follow a complex indirect pattern. Nearly 30,000 clan delegates are responsible for choosing 275 deputies for the lower house while state legislatures elect senators for the upper house, a process that is now complete.
Once the election of the lower house is over, the two assemblies vote for the next president.
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